Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Food for Thought 1

I went to a conference last Friday that was mind boggling.  The title was "Food for Thought:  How Nutrients Affect Mental Health" and was presented by Dr. Merrily Kuhn.  She is an RN who also happens to have three PhD's (Physiology, Holistic Medicing and Naturopathic Medicine).  All of the material she presented was very well researched and evidence-based.  The bibliography accompanying my course materials was seven pages of tightly spaced references.  In short, I believed her.  The day flew by as I listened with rapt attention. 

You know, I try to eat healthy.  I try to limit toxins in my immediate environment.  I try.  But, I also get confused.  One day I hear one thing and it is totally refuted the next.   The information I am presented with is often overwhelming and downright scary.  So, I was very pleased to get the information from this conference in a concise, thoughtul and organized manner.  But, I still was overwhelmed, and I must admit, a bit scared. 

When I met my daughter-in-law Kylene for lunch that day I tried to tell her just a few things I'd learned in the morning.  She was exceedingly interested as she sat next to her little baby Maeve.  This information is important for her.  It is important for children like Maeve.  It is important for all of us.  But, we need to be informed, not confused.  So, I decided to sort through the materials and post a few treasures that I learned.  I think I can best make use of the information in small doses so I will try to post it in bits and pieces that are easier to digest. 

I want to share the information about plastics first.  Of course, we are surrounded by it.  Merrily said, "I challenge you to go to the grocery store and not come out with a bunch of plastic and foam containers."  Here is the bottom line from the conference. Check the number in the triangle on the bottom of the plastic container and compare it with the list below.  Get rid of the crap.

What is NOT safe?
Polyvinylchoride is not safe.  Find it in #3 PVC plastic bottles such as some cooking oil bottles and in plastic wrap.

Polystyrene is not safe.  Find it in styrofoam and even clear plastic containers marked #6.  This leaches styrene which is a human carcinogen.  It's the same stuff used in the dry cleaning business.  Please don't drink your hot drinks from a styrofoam cup.
Plastics marked #7 PC.  This is sold as micro-wavable plastic; it is in plastic eating utensils and the lining for metal food containers (the industry lines the cans with plastic so that your food doesn't taste like the can).  It has also been used in Nalgene bottles and baby bottles in the past.

What is Safe?
Polyethylene is generally safe.
#1 PETE plastics that contain soft drinks and water bottles (but don't get them hot or put them in the freezer...this causes chemicals to leach into your beverage).

#2 HDPE milk and water bottles.

#4 LDPE wrapping films and grocer bags.

#5 PP yogurt containers and syrup bottles.

Why not change to stainless steel water bottles and avoid the confusion?  DON'T opt for aluminum bottles.  I found the excerpt below from The Mother Earth News website regarding how to tell the difference.
  • Aluminum sounds duller and has less of a ring than stainless steel. Rap your knuckles on the edge of the pot or bang it with a wooden spoon.
  • Aluminum feels slightly warmer than stainless steel at room temperature.
  • After being washed, aluminum tends to dull slightly, while stainless steel usually stays bright.
  • Because aluminum is softer than stainless steel, a key will scratch aluminum much more readily than stainless steel.
  • If a magnet sticks to the side of the pot (even weakly), it is definitely stainless steel and not aluminum. (Note: If a magnet does not stick, you still can’t tell which metal it is, but you can be sure it’s stainless steel if the magnet does stick!)
Read more:

Unsafe Handwashing Solutions
Please check your handwashing solutions to see if they contain Triclosan. Dial liquid soap has it.  This is a carcinogen that stays in your fat.  It has been banned by the European Union (EU), Canada and Japan.  Go to for more information.

All of these environmental toxins lead to oxidative stress and inflammation.  Inflammation is the leading cause of many diseases such as heart disease and cancer. 

I plan on going through my cupboards to see what I have.  And when I go to the grocery store, I think I'll start looking at the bottom of the plastic container as well as the ingredient label.  I don't want the bad stuff in my house.

Here's another sobering fact:  41% of the US population will develop cancer in their lifetime.  21% will die of it.


  1. Thanks for posting this stuff, Mom. You're right, it is very confusing and overwhelming. These 'sound-bytes' will be very helpful!

  2. Had no idea about the soap or Aluminum. Thanks!